JAKARTA: A fisherman and a fishmonger were arrested following the discovery of nine long-beaked common dolphins at a market in Tulungagung, East Java.
The fishmonger was caught first when police found the dolphins, which had their fins cut off at the market, before being led to the fisherman, reported the Jakarta Post.
The long-beaked common dolphin is listed as a protected species under the purview of the Environment and Forestry Ministry.
The fishmonger was apprehended at the Sine Beach market, located about 30km from Tulungagung, while the fisherman was held at his home in the Kalidawir district on Friday.
Despite claims by the fisherman that the dolphins, each weighing an average of about 30kg, were unintentionally caught, entangled to his fishing nets at sea, police think otherwise.
Tulungagung police chief Adjutant Senior Commander Eva Guna Pandia said investigations show sufficient evidence to indicate that the fisherman had intentionally hunted dolphins.
“(Local) fishermen know where to catch dolphins or mackerel fish. If we only found one or two dolphins, we may have believed him. However, we found nine.”
The fishmonger appeared to have bought the dolphins at 5,000 rupiah per kg from the fisherman.
Eva said the police would investigate further to discover whether there was a black market of protected animals operating along the southern coast of Tulungagung.
A 1990 law on natural resources conservation restricts all people from catching protected species.
Anyone convicted of violating the law faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison, as well as a fine of 100 million rupiah.